Japan's largest mall is also its friendliest.
Tokyo can be said to have many things but space probably isn’t one of them. For a change of pace, check out Koshigaya LakeTown in neighboring Saitama prefecture – which is nothing if not roomy as the largest mall in Japan. If you like shopping, this is for you. Even if you don’t, there’s still plenty to be getting on with.
At a whopping 224,000 square meters, the mall spans three areas, each with a different specialty. Koshigaya LakeTown isn’t just big though – it’s also eco-friendly, pet-friendly, and kid-friendly, with green spaces, animal-OK zones, and a whole bunch of stuff for the little ones to do if they get fed up with shopping.
The first building you’ll see is Kaze, which is the Japanese word for wind. The building is as breezy as its name suggests – this is where you’ll want to go to find the latest fashion trends. You’ll also find a cinema here and an arcade as well, next to a Japanese candy store with an amazing selection.
After Kaze is Mori, which is the Japanese word for forest. There’s lush greenery and art sculptures between the shops (a bit classier than the ones in Kaze), and you’ll spot people enjoying the scenery with the dogs – Mori is a dog-friendly zone. Though they’re only allowed in some stores, there’s an area you can let your dog run about while you shop. There’s even a bakery for your pets, in case you want to buy Fido a birthday cake for his special day.
Between Mori and Kaze, is LakeTown Outlet, an outdoor mall area which has brands from all over the world at outlet prices, made even cheaper with Japan’s tax-free shopping program for tourists – just show your passport (with the tourist visa stamp) and say hello to duty-free prices.
An outdoor skating rink is set up in the winter. You can bring your own skates or you can rent, as long as your feet fit the 14.5 to 28.5 centimeter range. LakeTown also has regular mini-concerts that can be viewed for free, ranging from popular bands to instrumental piano.
Then, there’s the lake. (Why else would the mall be called LakeTown?) It’s perfect for a bit of an outside sports day. Buy a frisbee or a set of rackets and a ball right at the mall.